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The “Competitive Advantage of Nations” 20 years later: the cases of Sweden, South Korea and the USA
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Umeå University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Umeå School of Business and Economics (USBE), Business Administration.
Solbridge International School of Business, Woosong University, Daejeon, Republic of Korea.
2014 (English)In: Competitiveness Review: an international business journal, ISSN 1059-5422, Vol. 24, no 4, 306-331 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose:  The purpose of this paper is to reflect on some policy possibilities and outcomes for three countries of interest suggested in Porter’s Competitive Advantage of Nations.

Design/methodology/approach:  This research was both exploratory and qualitative in nature and utilized an in-depth case study approach of three major international economies reflecting previous observations in the Competitive Advantage of Nations.  Personal contemporaneous observations of individuals in the countries of interest were complemented by current secondary information. The three countries selected for analysis, South Korea, Sweden and the U.S., reflected different stages of development at the time Competitive Advantage of Nations was published and certainly different progress since then.

Findings: The Competitive Advantage of Nations advocated new, constructive and actionable roles for government and business.  These observations can now be tested after a reasonable time of development.  In terms of development, Korea would appear to be the star of the group; Sweden has made strong progress in comparison with other members of the European Union.  Although there are areas of strength, the U.S. recently has lost much of the edge it had at the time of the Advantage’s publication.

Research limitations/implications:  Because this research was built on case studies, one has the reservations common with that approach.  On the other hand, case studies are acknowledged as useful in the identification of important variables in situations in which there is little control over events in a real-world context. 

Practical implications: Countries must go their own way and find their own paths to success.  In some ways directions are suggested by Schumpeter (1947) and in others Porter (1990/1996).  Chance appears to have played a role in development in each instance, but government, seen as a fifth determinant possibility by Porter, heavily affected outcomes in each instance.

Originality/value:  Although relying heavily on Porter, results add insight into the development of economies over time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2014. Vol. 24, no 4, 306-331 p.
Keyword [en]
Competitive Advantage, Michael Porter, Country Issues, Policy, South Korea, Sweden, United States, Purchasing Parity
National Category
Business Administration
Research subject
Business Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83043DOI: 10.1108/CR-11-2012-0027OAI: diva2:664713
Available from: 2013-11-16 Created: 2013-11-16 Last updated: 2015-04-30Bibliographically approved

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